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Georgy Catoire Percy Sherwood - Piano Concertos (2012)

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Georgy Catoire Percy Sherwood - Piano Concertos (2012)

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Georgiy Lvovich Katuar (French: Georges Catoire) (Moscow, 1861-1926)
Piano Concerto Op.21 in A flat (1909)
1. Moderato con entusiasmo - Dramatico - Cadenza
- Tema: Moderato - Tranquillo (misterioso) - Variations:
- Allegro con spirito-
- (Interlude) Moderato-
- L'Istesso tempo-
- Allegro scherzando - Tranquillo (misterioso)-
- Tempo del tema-
- Allegro risoluto - Animato - Molto piu mosso, agitato - Tempo del tema, dramatico
2. Andante cantabile - Poco animato - Tranquillo - Tempo I-
3. Allegro risoluto - Tempo del comincio, maestoso

Percy Sherwood (Dresden, 1866-London, 1939)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (1932-33)
4. Allegro
5. Andante, ma poco tranquillo
6. Allegro molto

Hiroaki Takenouchi - piano
Royal Scottish National Orchesta
Martin Yates - conductor


The modern rediscovery of Georgy Catoire’s modestly proportioned oeuvre was kick-started by Marc-André Hamelin’s 1999 Hyperion recital (1/00 – soon to reappear on Helios). Since then the chamber music has been quite well served, leaving just the songs and orchestral works in search of modern champions.

The Piano Concerto was composed in 1906-09, according to most catalogues, though its first performer, Alexander Goldenweiser, gave 1911 as the date of completion. Dutton do not claim theirs as a first-ever recording; though if Anna Zassimova’s lavish documentary study (Berlin, Verlag Ernst Kuhn: 2011) is to be trusted, it would seem to be so. Like all Catoire’s instrumental works, the Concerto bears the mark of his close encounters with Tchaikovsky, Taneyev and Scriabin. Accomplished pianist and thoroughly trained composer that he was, the music always falls gratefully on the ear, though in terms of surprise, delight or individuality it lags far behind the likes of, say, César Franck, whose Symphonic Variations loom large behind the 19-minute first movement. Any limitations in the music’s effect are surely no fault of Hiroaki Takenouchi, however, who is impeccable in his pianism and unfailing in his idiomatic grasp.

The adventurous spirit of this young Japanese-born, London-based pianist also gives us the Second Concerto (1932-33) of Percy Sherwood (1866-1939), a German-born pianist-teacher-composer who settled in Hampstead at the onset of the First World War and whose manuscripts now reside in the Bodleian Library. This is music still solidly rooted in the 19th-century Germanic tradition, with some imposing Rachmaninovisms grafted on. Never less than accomplished, it is never much more than that either. Once again finely played by Takenouchi, this too is a must-have for anyone interested in the post-history of the Romantic piano concerto. With decent orchestral support and recording, and excellent documentation, it all adds up to a more than welcome issue. ---David Fanning, gramophone.co.uk

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